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Shawnee State wins program’s first NAIA Tournament title

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — James Jones had 27 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and Shawnee State (Ohio) claimed the program’s first NAIA Tournament championship with a 74-68 victory over Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) on Tuesday night.

Shawnee State (31-2), a No. 5 seed, won its 27th straight game — including four tournament victories in five days.

Jones hit his fourth, and final, 3-pointer of the game to extend Shawnee State’s lead to 59-51, and Amier Gilmore made just his sixth 3-pointer of the season to make it 62-53.

Jones, an 80% free-throw shooter, made two at the stripe with 25.9 seconds left for a six-point lead, and he made 1 of 2 at 9.1 for 72-65.

Gilmore finished with 14 points and six rebounds, and Miles Thomas added 10 points for Shawnee State. Jones was 8 of 20 from the floor to score 20-plus for the 14th time this season.

EJ Onu, the offensive and defensive player of the year in the Mid-South Conference, picked up his third and fourth fouls 15-seconds apart early in the second half, and spent most of the game on the bench before fouling out late. The 6-foot-11 center, who has over 500 career blocked shots, finished with six points, six rebounds and five blocks.

Damek Mitchell, the player of the year in the Cascade Conference, led Lewis-Clark State (22-2) with 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Khalil Stevenson added 19 points and Trystan Bradley had 11.

Hodges Bailey, who scored a season-high 25 points including seven 3-pointers in Lewis-Clark State’s 27-point win in the semifinals, did not score until the 16:27 mark of the second half on a putback. His only 3-pointer came from the corner to get within 50-40.

NBA legend John Stockton was in attendance watching his son Sam and his Lewis-Clark State teammates try for the program’s first basketball title.

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More AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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